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Mormon Senator Invites Hindu Prayer

Lincoln Cannon

13 July 2007 (updated 13 July 2024)

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"Ganesh" by Lincoln Cannon

I was happy to read this morning of a decision by Senator Harry Reid (a Mormon) to invite a Hindu to offer prayer at the beginning of the Senate session, despite protests from three “Christians and patriots” that were removed by police from the visitors’ gallery.

A part of my Mormon faith that I value highly is reflected in these ecumenical words from the Book of Mormon:

“Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?

“Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also.”

I know and work regularly with Hindus living in India. When visiting them, they’ve explained to me aspects of their faith and escorted me through ceremonies in their temples. Like so many other religions in our world, Hinduism has much to offer that is beautiful and uplifting.

The future we work to create should protect religious (and non-religious) diversity. To the extent our faith is not oppressive, we should be free to worship (or not) as we desire. We should also be free to debate the benefits and detriments of competing faiths, without fear of death or imprisonment. I am confident that this will make us a more resilient civilization.

Here’s a final thought from Joseph Smith (Eleventh Article of Faith):

“We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”

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